Which one is the correct way to write a sentence?

Now, you are ready to play.


Now you are ready to play.

This is from a computer game under development which comes after reading the rules. So I don't mean a question but the sentence just means that you can start the game.

  • 1
    Also "You are now ready to play" – laureapresa Jun 21 '15 at 11:34
  • Ok. Is there a rule why do we say "You are now ready to play" instead of "You are ready to play now"? – studying Jun 21 '15 at 12:43
  • There is no fixed rule on word order, beside some very basic subject + verb + complements structure. The words at the beginning and at the end are, in regular conversation, emphasized. If you put a comma after a word, that will be emphasized even more. What is really important is that your grammar be sound, the order is not a big deal in the case you're mentioning. – laureapresa Jun 21 '15 at 13:47
  • Please note that I provided an answer based on your last edit. The currently selected answer doesn't make sense relative to your edit. – CoolHandLouis Jun 25 '15 at 10:14

The English interrogative reverses the usual Subject-Verb order:

Now are you ready to play?
Now, are you ready to play?

Let's talk about a hypothetical: a coach talking to members of his team.

If you use a comma, the "now" is introductory, along the lines of "Now let's get to the important question." We can suppose that the coach is talking to a player who has been cutting practice and goofing off. He wants to know whether the player is going to start taking the team seriously.

If you don't use a comma, the "now" is a question about the immediate present, that is, right now. In this case, we can think of the coach finishing a pep talk to his team, who are behind at the half and just about to play the second half of the game. The coach wants to know if the team is ready for the immediately-upcoming challenge of the rest of the game.

  1. Now, you are ready to play.
  2. Now you are ready to play.

There's no simple answer to this. It's either going to be a discourse marker or an emphasis on "now" meaning "the present moment" or more accurately, "finally now (as opposed to earlier)." Which one will need to be determined by context.

This being conversational, I would think the comma is purely to indicate dramatic pause and not grammatical function. I can imagine a dramatic pause (or no dramatic pause) in both cases, and the function would have to be understood in a broader context, such as acting, the situation, or other text explicitly describing the situation.

The "finally now" meaning is often used in martial arts films: "Now you are ready for the next step" or more dramatically, "Now, you have learned the way of the master."

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